As The State Turns

By Johnny Beaver

stateturnssymbolRow, Row, Row Your Oil
Just when you thought it was safe to complain about only one method of oil transport, now there’s a second on the radar: water. Increasing amounts of our slick black lifeblood are traveling by floatation (ships, tankers, and barges) to act as overflow for maximized pipelines. So far at least two companies are shipping crude oil by water: the Global Partners out of Clatskanie and the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington. You will probably seem very involved and on the level if you drop these names in casual environmental conversation. See? The Advocate has your back.

So, anyway, what’s the harm? A few Greenpeace photo ops with oily saber-toothed sea pigeons? I say fiddlesticks. However, a report issued by the non-partisan Congressional Research Services says that I’m full of bird droppings. They claim that regulations are too shaky at the moment, with barges not being held to the same safety standards as ships. They also say that rules to prevent worker fatigue aren’t really in place, regulators are already in trouble for their slow response to enforcing pollution control, etc…. What most people will get out of the report is that if there’s a disaster or spill of some sort, it’ll be a major one and take forever to get under control.

The sudden uptick in oil transport over water has raised a lot of eyebrows. Let’s hope that as this side of the industry grows, those eyebrows mobilize a bit to help protect workers and the environment. Personally, I don’t have much faith. My eyebrows have proven themselves largely useless.

As American as Screwing Veterans
Nothing quite says “Let’s get caught!” like asking workers in a veterans’ medical center to falsify records. It just so happens that senior employees at the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center did just that, and they were outed in a federal report. I’m sure that a few people have had their “I told ya so” moment, and we salute them.

Our very own U.S. Representative Peter Defazio has stated that this deception should result in the mass firing of the responsible parties. The Veterans Health Administration showed that 30 percent of the employees surveyed claimed that they had been instructed to falsify appointment dates for veterans, likely to make it seem like their appointments were occurring in a timely manner.

Wait a minute, since when is bureaucracy illegal? We need to get an efficiency expert in there to save those jobs, stat!

Anchovypocalypse? Not So Much
All along the Necanicum (or maybe we should called it the Necronomicon) River near Seaside last week, one could have found a smorgasbord of dead anchovies. But don’t freak out just yet—apparently this is a natural occurrence. Once every handful of years, an oversized school of anchovies will pour into the river, quickly depleting the necessary oxygen from the water. The further away from the ocean they get, the temperature tends to rise and the salinity drops, which can cause other forms of distress.

Some officials have said that predators and other factors may have been involved to a lesser degree. Speaking of predators, though, this is certainly no bummer for them. Not only did pelicans and other birds seize the opportunity to gorge themselves, but the decomposing anchovy bodies will eventually add nutrients back to the waters, riverbanks, and surrounding plant life.

EVERYBODY WINS! (except for the anchovies).

Pew Research Snubs ‘As the State Turns’
Pew Research recently conducted a study that shows Oregon as having very few state government news reporters as compared to other states. What the hell am I, eh? It didn’t specify how competent the reporters had to be, so I would imagine that I qualify.

Be Sociable, Share!